By Tian Lee
On of my favorite weeknight meals are bison kafka kabobs. I serve it with a side of whole wheat couscous with roasted hazeulnuts, cherries, mint, and a yogurt mint dipping sauce. It’s one of those meals where you scratch your head and wonder how “healthy food” could taste so good and be so satisfying.
If you’ve never tried bison, it’s a fantastic alternative to beef – with more protein, less fat and calories. Also, bison raised in the U.S. feed solely on grass and hay, and are not fed hormones or antibiotics. It’s a bit pricier at the store, but if you’re going to consume meat, I think it’s always worth it to opt for the higher quality kind.
To pair with this wonderful meal, I picked Campo Viejo’s Rioja Reserva 2008 red – an incredibly versatile and balanced wine that has notes of cherry (perfect with my roasted cherry couscous!) and a nice finish. It also paired very well with the bison, bringing out all the different spices in the meat.
Known for their flagship red wine grape Tempranillo, Rioja offers some of the best ‘food’ wines in the world – but their true beauty is that they pair well with everything from fish to veggies to meats and cheeses.
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ pound ground bison
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups fresh cherries (pitted, halved, and roasted in oven until caramelized ~5-10 minutes)
- ½ cup raw hazelnuts (toasted in oven ~5-7 minutes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint, divided
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water (to thin out if it’s too thick)
- Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes.
- Whisk together yogurt, 2 tablespoons mint, garlic, lemon juice, sugar and water. Cover and chill.
- Pit, halve and place cherries on pan with cooking spray. Roast for 10 min or until carmelized. Roast raw hazelnuts and let it cool for 15 minutes. When cool, roughly chop with knife.
- Prepare whole wheat couscous (use Trader Joes - it’s delish) according to box. Mix in cooled roasted cherries, leftover chiffonated mint from the yogurt dipping sauce, and add in chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Mix mint and next 6 ingredients in a bowl. Form into 12 football shaped meatballs. Coat grill pan (or regular pan) with cooking spray; preheat over medium-high heat. Cook kebabs, turning, 3 minutes for medium. When done, poke wooden skewers through meat and finish for a 1-3 minutes in the oven to make sure the meat is cooked through.
- Serve bison kabobs medium or medium rare with side of couscous.